Arizona Nurse Undesignated Felony
The job of the Arizona Board of Nursing is to protect and promote the welfare of the people of Arizona. One way they protect the public is to have laws about Arizona Nurses’ Undesignated Felony.
They do this by ensuring each person who holds a license as a nurse in the State of Arizona is competent to practice safely. Thus, the Arizona Board of Nursing has the authority to discipline the license of any nurse.
The number of applicants in Arizona that applied for nursing licenses or certificates between 1995 and 2008 increased by 1400%.
The sheer volume of nursing applicants caused the Arizona Legislature to take action and create Senate Bill 1096 (“SB1096”), which bars nursing applicants from certification and licensure if they have prior felony convictions (“felony bar”).
However, the felony bar is lifted three years after their felony sentencing has been completed successfully(or complete discharge from probation). If a nurse has had the felony reduced to a misdemeanor, set aside, dismissed, expunged, etc., the three-year waiting period may no longer apply.
Nurse Felony Conviction
Through this bill, the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) may initiate disciplinary proceedings to revoke the application, renewal, or reactivation against nurses who failed to disclose a felony conviction.
SB1096 also gives the Department of Public Safety the right to fingerprint nurses to obtain any state or federal criminal history on the person. The reasoning behind a three-year bar from nursing is to allow the individual enough time to prove they are safe to practice and handle restitution issues with their victim(s) resulting from their felony conviction.
Arizona Undesignated Offense
In 2010 the state of Arizona made a slight change to SB1096 and Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) § 13-604(A). The change allows the Board to treat an undesignated offense that occurs/occurred after 23 July 2010 as a felony until the court enters an order designating the offense as a misdemeanor.
How Long to Report a Criminal Charge?
ARS 32-3208 requires that nursing licensees and applicants for a nursing license must report misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Board of Nursing within ten working days after the charge is filed. A working day would be considered Monday through Friday.
Failure to Report is a Violation
Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within ten business days violates the Arizona Nurse Practice Act and could result in disciplinary action.
What Crimes Must Be Reported?
The nurse must report a felony within ten days of being charged.
The following types of misdemeanor or other criminal offenses/charges are crimes the Board has determined to be reportable pursuant to ARS § 32-3208:
- Assault and Related Offenses
- Theft and Related Offenses
- Fraud, Deceit, and Related Offenses
- Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation of a Child or Vulnerable Adult, and Related Offenses
- Sexual and Related Offenses
- Drug and/or Alcohol Related Offenses
- Arson and Related Offenses
- Animal Abuse, Cruelty, and Related Offenses
Arizona Nurse DUI
Nurses who contact our office frequently ask our attorneys if state law allows a nursing professional with a DUI legal charge or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
The short answer is yes.
An Arizona Nurse’s DUI will not necessarily prevent a nurse from obtaining a license or a career in the health field. However, the Board (which handles all complaints) has a public policy (updated as of September 2020) on their website which covers the details of what circumstances nursing professionals with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get a license.
Health Care Criminal Consequences
This policy does not apply to criminal conduct involving misdemeanor DUI charges or convictions. Once a nursing professional applies for a license to practice with the Arizona State Board of Nursing, they need to disclose any felony DUI criminal court convictions (from previous years) on their application.
A nurse must report a felony DUI no matter how much time or years have passed since the conviction or case. The AZ Board may also ask about past DUI misdemeanor criminal charges or cases that resulted in a conviction. They do this to ensure a nurse can perform safe patient care and have safe, direct contact with patients or other providers.
Disclosing a DUI on an Application for Nurses
Suppose a nursing license applicant (like an RN) is not required to disclose a legal misdemeanor DUI. In that case, the AZ Board can still initiate an investigation based on fingerprint background check results.
The Board will then contact the nursing professional and initiate an investigation into their practice utilizing the law of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act (current as of October 2020). This license investigation determines whether the nurse is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems, and whether the nurse has been rehabilitated in the time since the criminal misdemeanor DUI or DUI charges occurred.
The Board wants to know whether the applicant can provide safe nursing care with a past criminal case involving alcohol or substance abuse.
The attorneys at Chelle Law assist nurses with interpreting Board policy (generally on the Board website). Our attorneys help the healthcare workers and nurses with their application to show the Board that the nursing professional isn’t a danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the public and can provide safe patient care.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about Arizona Nursing Board Criminal History laws and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney. Reach out to us today.